Good Early Afternoon
I found that image on Facebook. I got the idea for the capes from a friend of mine who is doing a pimp thing for Halloween…at least I think that was the look he was going for. Anyway, he said he thought capes were cool and that they should come back into style. Which made me think of the Seinfeld episode…about the man in the cape.
Yeah it is good cape weather, don’t ya think?
Anyway, here are the other quick scenes that go with this episode:
Then of course I got sucked into the youtube vortex and found this nugget of clips. The best of Frank:
Tell that to Bobby Colby….all that kid wanted to do was go home…well he went home alright….with a crater in his colon the size of a cutlet.
Alright then, enough of the fun stuff. Let’s get down to the shitty gritty.
That is from back in April of this year…Don’t forget the mortality rate in newborns either:
That link is from a year ago…
The point I am trying to make is, there is a GOP debate tonight…cough, cough…
I doubt very seriously the candidates will be asked pointed questions about their party’s compliance and cause of the figures above. But what the fuck right? As long as this shit continues:
That is Digby at Salon.
Not sure you saw this…but I think it may have been posted earlier in the week here on the blog…anyway, back to the shit talking from Slate, Monday this week:
Joe Cannon: Cannonfire
I have to quote the whole post, sorry Joseph…but if I were to write my own response to that shit William Saletan said, it would sound like a Samuel L Jackson monologue. (Which is not to say I haven’t done anything like that before on the blog, but with my dysfunctional brain at the moment…I don’t think I can give my rant the kind of linguistic attention it deserves…)
Attention, irony fans! Dig:
Clinton is framing Sanders as a sexist who accuses women of shouting when they try to speak up. It’s a lie. She’s manipulating women and abusing feminist anger for her own advantage.
It’s great that we’re more aware of bigotry than we used to be. But we should also beware false claims of bigotry: the race card, the sex card, the homophobia card. In 1991, Clarence Thomas, a well-connected federal judge, evaded sexual harassment allegations and won confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court by accusing his interrogators of a “high-tech lynching for uppity blacks.” Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister of Israel, says anyone who advocates a boycott of his country “should be treated exactly as we treat any anti-Semite or bigot.” Sexism, racism, and anti-Semitism are real. But sometimes they’re fabricated.
That’s what Clinton is doing. She’s misrepresenting an exchange that took place at the Oct. 13 Democratic presidential debate. During the exchange, Clinton accused Sanders of voting with the gun lobby. Sanders replied: “All the shouting in the world is not going to do what I would hope all of us want, and that is keep guns out of the hands of people who should not have those guns and end this horrible violence.” Sanders argued that people on both sides of the gun debate should agree to “strengthen and expand instant background checks, do away with this gun show loophole,” “deal with the straw-man purchasing issue,” and “address the issue of mental health.”
The man standing to Clinton’s left during this exchange, former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, joined in the attack on Sanders. To this, the Vermont senator answered with the same message: “Here is the point, governor. We can raise our voices. But I come from a rural state, and the views on gun control in rural states are different than in urban states, whether we like it or not. Our job is to bring people together around strong, common-sense gun legislation.”
Two days after the debate, Clinton brought up the exchange during a speech to the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in San Antonio. She promised to stand up to the gun lobby and, dropping her G’s, added: “I’ve been told by some to quit talkin’ about this, to quit shoutin’ about this. Well, I’ll tell you right now, I will not be silenced, and we will not be silenced.” The crowd loved it. The next day in New Hampshire, Clinton tried the same line in a Yankee-friendly accent: “Some people say that we shouldn’t talk about it. Some say we shouldn’t shout about it, that I shouldn’t shout about it. Well, I think we have to keep talking. But more importantly, we have to act.”
A week went by. Clinton prepared for her Oct. 22 testimony before the House Select Committee on Benghazi. When she returned to the campaign trail on Oct. 23, in a speech to the Democratic National Committee Women’s Leadership Forum, her account of the exchange with Sanders was no longer just about guns. It was about sexism. “You know,” she began—clearing her throat to signal the sound bite ahead—“I’ve been told to stop, and I quote, ‘shouting’ about gun violence. Well, first of all, I’m not shouting. It’s just [that] when women talk, some people think we’re shouting.” The audience hooted, screamed, and cheered. Clinton grinned. “I will not be silenced, because we will not be silenced,” she declared.
On social media, Clinton’s campaign made the new line—“When women talk, some people think we’re shouting”— her message of the day. Her team posted it on her Twitter feed at 8:30 Friday morning, two hours before her speech to the DNC forum, as a rebuke to “those who tell her to ‘stop shouting’ on issues that matter.” The quote also went up on her Facebook page and her campaign website, under the headline, “Hillary Clinton Just Said Something Women Have Been Thinking for Years.” The next day, at a Democratic dinner in Iowa, Clinton repeated the applause line: “I’ve been told to stop shouting about ending gun violence. Well, I haven’t been shouting. But sometimes, when a woman speaks out, some people think it’s shouting. But I won’t be silenced, and I hope you won’t be either.”
Clinton doesn’t use Sanders’ name when she tells this story. She doesn’t have to: Everyone who saw the debate or heard about it knows she’s talking about him. She’s using the story to bond with women, to paint Sanders as a patronizing old fart, and to portray herself as a victim.
Let’s be clear: This isn’t what happened. During the debate exchange, Sanders answered O’Malley with the same point about “raising our voices.” Sanders has been giving this answer for years. He did it in July, after an O’Malley super PAC ad attacked him (“We have been yelling and screaming at each other about guns for decades,” said Sanders). He did it again in August, after a male surrogate for Clinton attacked him (“I can get beyond the noise and all of these arguments and people shouting at each other”). He did it again in October, after the mass shooting in Roseburg, Oregon (“People on both sides of this issue cannot simply continue shouting at each other”). Sanders gives this answer to everyone.
The charitable explanation of Clinton’s behavior is that she sincerely perceived Sanders’ rebuke during the debate as sexist. But if that were true, you’d expect her to have said so in her first accounts of the exchange. She didn’t. She waited more than a week before embellishing the story. She prepared it as a sound bite for social media, and she unveiled it at a women’s forum. And it worked, so she’s still using it.
Enough. Sanders’ record as a feminist is as good as Clinton’s. No honest reading of his career or his comments about guns can construe him as a sexist. Clinton is trying to connect with women who have felt bullied by men, and to turn them against Sanders, by smearing him. And what’s true of racism and anti-Semitism is just as true of sexism: The more seriously you take the real thing, the more you should revile people who use it as a fraud.
Uh, Fuck You William Saletan.
My (sic Cannon’s) response: 2008.
Remember when anyone who called Obama a progressive poseur was considered an unhooded Klansman?
Remember when I was called a “racist” every minute of every hour of every day for weeks simply because I pointed out that Obama had lied about his opposition to NAFTA?
Remember when I was considered kin to George Wallace simply because I dared to mention the easily-proved fact that Obama did not denounce the Iraq invasion during his 2004 convention speech (or at any other time during his senate campaign)?
Remember the death threats against Hillary published on Democratic web sites like Daily Kos?
Remember how every sentence, word and phoneme uttered by the Clintons was hyper-parsed and subjected to bizarre interpretations in order to prove that they hated all black people? (As if anyone could withstand that kind of attack. Using the same smarmy tactic, I could prove that you are a racist, whoever you might be.)
Remember that shit?
I’ll never forget.
I’ll never forget either…those smarmy muthafuckaz. On that note. Something funny, because some of the other links are really depressing.
Oh my gawd…Dubya is Ricky Bobby!
Responding to comments from a men’s rights activist on a posting about finding enjoyment in sex with a wife who grudgingly agrees, the host of a website providing tips on proper Biblical “gender roles” agreed that keeping a woman in a constant state of fear is an appropriate way to control her actions.
Pointing to a column he wrote on “Female dread,” Rollo Tomassi explained that Christian men go about seeking sex with women all wrong by trying to “diffuse sexual anxiety and tension.” Instead, Tomassi said husbands should make their wives “unintentionally uncomfortable” in order to achieve “the rough, hard-core, make-up sex you never thought you’d have.”
Larry Solomon of Biblical Gender Roles agreed enthusiastically — albeit from a biblical perspective — writing: “So should a wife Biblically speaking have a little healthy fear or dread of her husband? Absolutely!”
According to Solomon — who agreed with Tomassi’s distaste for feminism — the Bible says that women should submit to their husbands “’as unto the Lord’ (Ephesians 5:22)”
Solomon lamented the fact that he believes that most Christian husbands fear their wives.
“Men show their wives they are either afraid to lose them (be alone) or afraid of the prospect of divorce and the financial or child custody repercussions that it may bring, ” he wrote.
“So when a woman acts out in rebellion toward her husband and tries to act as if she does not need her husband or that other men would treat her better the Christian husband should tell his wife “there’s the door”. Will some women be foolish enough to walk out that door? Yes, ” he wrote. ” But the moment a man allows his wife to put him in a position of fearing her, rather than her fearing him the relationship has just changed from the design God intended it to be.”
Solomon added that there is a limit to what a husband needs to provide for his wife and that the minimums should be withdrawn if she gets out of line.
“While we are required to know our wives and talk to them, that does not mean we need to spend every bit of our free time in conversation with them. We do not need to hang on every word our wife says. While we are required to give them food, clothing and shelter – that food does not have be the fancy food she wants, that clothing does not have to be the fancy clothing she wants and that house does not have to be the fancy house she wants,” he wrote, before adding that one night of wild sex is insufficient.
“I don’t just mean she just rocks his world one night, and then he lavishes her with all these things. No – she sees that in order to get ‘some’ of her wants met she must FIRST reverence her husband outside the bedroom and she must ravish him inside the bedroom and this becomes the pattern of her behavior toward her husband, He explained. ” If either the reverence or ravishing goes down, he pulls back on these other things so she understands the correlation.”
Customs agents seized thousands of years-old tablets imported by owners of the Christian chain of craft stores and intended for the $800m Museum of the Bible
Fox & Friends continued their history of on-air sexism when they turned to a panel of men to literally judge whether three women were appropriately wearing leggings. Fox News’ flagship morning show has a long history of promoting sexism on-air, whether it’s co-host Brian Kilmeade introducing his female colleagues by stating, “Let’s see if the girls have clothes on,” or spending 13 minutes questioning women’s driving abilities. To be fair, the network’s programming overall isn’t much better. Fox & Friends‘ overt sexism reached a new level during its October 27 edition in which a panel of three men were asked to judge the appropriateness of three women’s appearances. Co-host Steve Doocy started things off by asking panelist Willie Robertson of Duck Dynasty, “Are you comfortable with the women in your life parading in public in leggings?” Throughout the segment the panelists weighed in on each outfit, with Robertson quipping, “I’d like a photo” of one of the models, and Fox’s Arthur Aidala saying of another model’s “physique,” “God bless you, you’ve worked out, you’ve earned that.” Aidala then joked, “We all took nitroglycerin pills before she came on, just to make sure.” To conclude the panel discussion, Doocy speculated that, “I don’t think anybody is in too much trouble,” with Aidala agreeing, “No, I think we made it.” From the October 27 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends:
In related news: Sheriff to Decide Fate of Deputy in Classroom Arrest
Disgraced former baseball player Lenny Dykstra, who played center field for the Philadelphia Phillies and the New York Mets, apparently developed an innovative way to get on base: Blackmail umpires. From Philly.com:
Dykstra admitted while being interviewed, with no provocation, that he used half a million dollars to hire a private investigation team to get dirt on umpires, including extramarital affairs and gambling, that he would then use to shrink his personal strike zone.
“It wasn’t a coincidence I led the league in walks the next few years, was it?”
A former women’s prison located in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood is being converted into a women’s center, Gov. Cuomo said Monday.
The former medium-security Bayview Correctional Facility will be redeveloped by the NoVo Foundation, a not-for-profit group funded by Warren Buffett, and the Goren Group.
The 100,000-square-foot “Women’s Building” will include office space for activists and groups that focus on women’s issues, community space for a female adolescent wellness clinic, a women’s art gallery and a restaurant.
“We are continuing our efforts to shatter the glass ceiling by taking down an institution of defeat and turning it into opportunity and social reform for women,” Cuomo said.
That is all I have today, and get one last laugh, from this little pug video.
What are you all looking at today?
As promised…I bring you the latest edition of The Woman in Red….(It has taken me days, in fact almost the last 24 hours has been straight on through.)
You can read the earlier issues at these links:
As before, click the image to see the full size…and then click on the image itself to enlarge the picture, otherwise you will not be able to read the captions.
So….here we go!
Woman in Red:
Debate, Election and the Shutdown…
The GOP’s Albescent-churian Candidate
Tonight is the Republican Presidential Candidate Debate…..
Let’s take you to the debate venue, shortly before the event is to begin……
Bloody hell, I am exhausted!
Hope you enjoyed this edition of The Woman in Red, and the introduction of the new arch nemesis…S.P.Ermand…The Sperm Man!
This is an open thread.
I could not bear to write a post today. So just take this one for what it is, my overzealous attempt to find a few Medieval images for the thread that reminded me of the GOP idiots who are running or announcing that they are running for Prez…in 2016. I was looking and next thing I know it is four am…go figure.
So, I decided to post the illuminations, manuscripts, marginalia, bestiary, cheeky monkeys and the like with my own various commentary. Most of which will call back to the clowns that Boston Boomer and Dakinikat have been talking about lately. The images below are found here:
and here: Pinterest: Getting Medieval On Your Ass
So the captions within the slide show are just my observations. Click on the links above for the information on the links.
Just a few that are beyond the scope of the political references that are the theme of the post today.
This reminds me of the Seinfeld episode with the marbled rye…“Seinfeld” The Rye (TV Episode 1996) – IMDb it airs tomorrow by the way on TBS.
The next image is also from a Seinfeld episode.
Little Jerry was born to cock fight! “Seinfeld” The Little Jerry (TV Episode 1997) – IMDb
Okay, now for the slide show…click on the first picture below, it should open up to the larger gallery slide show….if you cannot read the full caption under the image, use the down arrow on your keyboard, it should work to move the text so you can read the entire entry.
This is an open thread.
Just can’t seem to bring myself round to reading any news lately. I have spent most of my time immersed in episodes of Foyle’s War. What an incredible series, if anyone has Netflix….
Anyway, so for today’s news reads, it will be a lazy link dump. The latest on the Amtrak accident will be at the bottom of the post.
Just to highlight something before we get to the hard core stuff:
Remember that black man found dead, who supposedly “hung” himself from a swingset in South Carolina?
A black man who’d recently been questioned in connection with the death of a white woman was found dead hanging from a tree Monday morning in rural Greensboro, Georgia, police said. Local and state investigators said there was nothing to immediately suggest foul play.
Greensboro Police Chief Ossie Mapp told NBC News that a neighbor called 911 about 9 a.m. ET to report finding a body behind a house on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. Police discovered the body of Roosevelt Champion III, 43, who Champion didn’t live at the address in Greensboro, in east-central Georgia between Athens and Augusta, Mapp said.
Champion’s body was suspended by tie-down strap similar to those used to secure cargo on the roofs of vehicles, Mapp said.
There were no visible wounds on Champion’s body, his feet were scraping the ground and his knees were slightly buckled, suggesting that he hadn’t been lifted into the tree, said Georgia Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Joe Wooten, who is in charge of the investigation. Wooten and Mapp said it’s too early to determine the formal cause of death, which is pending an autopsy.
But Wooten said Champion was questioned at least twice last week in a homicide case involving the death of a white woman. In the end, no charges were filed, he said. Details of that investigation weren’t immediately available.
“I understand that there is a lot of concern” in the community because the victim was a black man who was hanged in the Deep South, Wooten said. “Because of that, we’re going to be as transparent as we can be.”
Champion’s family does not believe it was suicide: Death of G.A. Man Found Hanging Ruled a Suicide — NYMag
Many suspected foul play when a black man recently questioned in the murder of a white woman was found hanging from a tree in Georgia on Monday, but his death has been ruled a suicide. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation said an autopsy found no evidence of trauma to the body of Roosevelt Champion III, and his hands and feet were not bound. However, his family refused to accept that explanation. “I’m angry, I’m angry because I don’t have answers,” Miranda Wright, one of Champion’s sisters, told NBC News. “He’d do a lot of things but he wouldn’t have harmed himself, I doubt it.”
Nine sheriff’s deputies in Georgia were fired on Friday over the New Year’s Day death of a black inmate who had been placed in restraints, officials said.
The dismissals come amid a series of killings by police in cities including of Baltimore, New York, and Ferguson, Missouri over the past year that have raised questions about officers’ use of lethal force, especially against black men and other minority groups.
The Chatham County Sheriff’s Office said its decision was based on an internal review and a separate probe by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation into the Jan. 1 death of 22-year-old Matthew Ajibade.
Officials said he injured three deputies while being booked into jail on charges of domestic violence, battery and resisting arrest. Ajibade, a college student, was then placed in an isolation cell and later found unresponsive, officials said.
The local Savannah Morning News reported that area clergy members said in a letter to the sheriff’s office this week that Ajibade suffered from bipolar disorder. They also said he was handcuffed to a restraining chair when officials used a taser on him, according to the News.
The Sheriff’s office said it had turned over its findings to the county prosecutor to weigh possible criminal charges. The office said it would not make its report available unless a local court rules the findings are subject to release or the prosecutor finishes investigating.
The office did note in Friday’s statement however that among the changes instituted following Ajibade’s death and the subsequent investigations was a “clear written policy of when tasers may not be used.”
And while you are thinking about all this goings on in Georgia….‘The Nightly Show’ skewers Georgia educators | www.ajc.com
Monday night’s episode of “The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore” focused on three stories of racism and bigotry that have been trending in the news. Two of those stories involved Georgia educators.
“The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore” has been making waves since its premiere in January. The new show, a spinoff of “The Daily Show,” focuses less on the media’s coverage of political news (that’s Jon Stewart’s job) and more on trending news topics.
Last night’s show began with host Larry Wilmore discussing the remarks made by Principal Nancy Gordeuk at the graduation ceremony of Stone Mountain’s TNT Academy. The video — of Gordeuk calling the crowd “goobers,” “cowards” and (after accidentally dismissing the crowd before the Valedictorian’s speech) yelling,“Look who’s leaving? All the black people.” — was played.
Wilmore then played the video clip of Gordeuk claiming the devil was responsible for her comments.
The show then switched focus to Nancy Perry, the Dublin, Georgia, teacher that was removed from the classroom after telling students President Barack Obama was not Christian, if their parents voted for Obama they were not Christian, and the President is an “evil Muslim.”
Here are the best quotes from Wilmore’s monologue:
“The devil? First of all, everyone knows the devil hasn’t been back in Georgia since he lost that fiddling competition.”
“A Georgia teacher tells her students Obama is an evil Muslim. In a related story, she’s now the front-runner for the Republican primary!”
“Hey Georgia educators, can I talk to you for a sec? If people wanted their kids to learn coded racism, false truths about the president and be talked down to, they would homeschool them. And leave them watching Fox News all day.”
“They (parents) have their kids in a Georgia public school to learn actual facts. You know, like the Civil War should actually be called the ‘War of Northern Aggression.’ So teach them what’s right and leave your half-baked, unsubstantiated opinions where they belong: Thanksgiving dinner.”
The best quotes from the roundtable:
“It’s weird, it’s almost like black people can’t do anything right now. Everything we do is stereotypical. We like chicken, that’s bad. We like watermelon, ‘Ehh, they like that watermelon’. They leave when you dismiss them? ‘Look at these Negros, just doing what we tell them to do.’” – Mike Yard
“If you look, it was the black people leaving … But here’s the thing: If you were a student or parent and had to be subjected to this crazy racist principal all year and finally you graduate? You would get the hell out of there too!” – Will Packard
“People always blame the devil too. I thinks it’s okay, like if you murder your kids, blame the devil, but not for casual, everyday racism.” – Rachel Feinstein
Put this is perspective…or context with the rest of the shit going on in the US of late.
Which brings me to this: Shakesville: And Again
In March, 19-year-old Tony Robinson, a black man, was killed by Madison, Wisconsin, Police Officer Matthew Kenny following an altercation, according to police. Today, the prosecutor announced that Kenny will not face charges.
“I conclude that this tragic and unfortunate death was the result of a lawful use of deadly police force and that no charges should be brought against Officer Kenny in the death of Tony Robinson Jr.,” Ismael Ozanne, the Dane County district attorney, announced Tuesday afternoon at a news conference.
…Robinson’s death on March 6 prompted days of sustained, peaceful demonstrations in Wisconsin’s second-largest city. Police say they were responding to multiple calls about a disturbance involving Robinson, including calls that said he had assaulted other people and ran into traffic.
In a brief statement after the shooting, police said that when they found Robinson, “a struggle ensued” and he was shot and killed. Kenny was placed on paid administrative leave, and the police chief apologized for the shooting and asked for patience during the investigation.
…Ozanne, who was appointed in 2010, is a lifelong Madison resident and the first black district attorney in Wisconsin history, according to his office. He said that he viewed his responsibilities through this lens as “a man who understands the pain of unjustified profiling” and described discussions he has had recently with community members who are distrustful of the criminal justice system.
“My decision will not bring Tony Robinson Jr. back,” Ozanne said Tuesday. “My decision will not end the racial disparities that exist in the justice system, in our justice system.”
Robinson, of course, being dead, was unavailable to tell his version of events. But, according to Kenny, he chased Robinson into a building, where Robinson hit him in the head and so he “opened fire after he feared that he would be hit again and his gun taken and used to shoot him or others. Kenny fired seven shots in three seconds, and all of the shots hit Robinson on the front of his body.”
Toxicology shows Robinson was high, but what the fuck? Shoot him over repeatedly killing him? Dead? I don’t get it.
The rest in of it in dump format:
And the latest on the Amtrak Derailment:
This is an open thread…
It’s the last week of August, and the dog days of summer have supposedly passed; but the Boston area is supposed to hit ninety degrees today and tomorrow. I’m actually looking forward to it, because it has been so cool here lately–in the sixites and low seventies in the daytime and the fifties at night. Yesterday it got into the high eighties, and it felt wonderful.
The Boston Globe has a story today about Peter Theo Curtis, the writer who was just released from captivity in Syria. His mother lives in Cambridge. I had never heard of Curtis before; apparently his kidnapping was kept secret. The Globe reports: Militants free US writer with Mass. ties who was held in Syria.
Peter Theo Curtis, a writer and scholar with ties to the Boston area who was held captive for nearly two years by one of the Islamic militant groups operating in Syria, was released Sunday after emissaries from the government of Qatar won his freedom on humanitarian grounds, in a stark contrast to the brutal murder of fellow war correspondent James W. Foley .
Curtis’s 22 months in captivity were kept from the public at his family’s request since he was nabbed near the Syrian border in October 2012 by Al Nusra Front, one of the groups seeking to topple President Bashir Assad of Syria. Al Nusra Front has ties to the Al Qaeda terrorist network.
Curtis, 45, who wrote dispatches under the name Theo Padnos and previously chronicled disaffected young Muslims in Yemen in a book titled “Undercover Muslim,” had studied Arabic in Syria.
He was handed over to United Nations peacekeepers in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights on Sunday evening, a UN spokesman in New York said. After it was determined he was in good medical condition, he was transferred to representatives of the US government, according to the UN.
“We are so relieved that Theo is healthy and safe and that he is finally headed home after his ordeal,” his mother, Nancy Curtis, who lives in Cambridge, said in a statement, “but we are also deeply saddened by the terrible, unjustified killing last week of his fellow journalist, Jim Foley, at the hands of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, ISIS.”
Foley was from New Hampshire, and the two families have gotten to know each other well, according to Curtis.
Syria and Iraq
President Obama has authorized surveillance flights over Syria, according to BBC News.
Correspondents say the move could mark the first step towards US air strikes inside Syria, where the jihadist group controls vast swathes of territory.
The US is already carrying out strikes against IS in neighbouring Iraq.
On Monday, the Syrian government said it would work with the international community in the fight against IS.
Western governments have so far rejected suggestions that they collaborate with President Bashar al-Assad in an attempt to counter the growing regional threat posed by IS….
On Monday evening, US officials said Mr Obama had approved over the weekend reconnaissance flights by unmanned and manned aircraft, including drones and possibly U2 spy planes.
The US military has been carrying out aerial surveillance of IS – an al-Qaeda breakaway formerly known as Isis – in Iraq for months and launched air strikes on 8 August.
From The Boston Globe, citing “AP sources,” U.S. planes have already begun flying over Syria.
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The U.S. has begun surveillance flights over Syria after President Barack Obama gave the OK, U.S. officials said, a move that could pave the way for airstrikes against Islamic State militant targets there.
While the White House says Obama has not approved military action inside Syria, additional intelligence on the militants would likely be necessary before he could take that step. Pentagon officials have been drafting potential options for the president, including airstrikes.
One official said the administration has a need for reliable intelligence from Syria and called the surveillance flights an important avenue for obtaining data.
Two U.S. officials said Monday that Obama had approved the flights, while another U.S. official said early Tuesday that they had begun. The officials were not authorized to discuss the matter by name, and spoke only on condition of anonymity.
Jim Michaels of USA Today spoke to Gen. Dempsey on Sunday about what is being done to deal with ISIS in Iraq.
ABOARD A U.S. MILITARY AIRCRAFT — U.S. airstrikes on Islamic militants in Iraq have blunted their momentum, but defeating them will require a broad regional approach that draws support from Iraq’s neighbors and includes political and diplomatic efforts, the top U.S. military officer said.
The long-term strategy for defeating the militants includes having the United States and its allies reach out to Iraq’s neighbors, including Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Sunday….
Dempsey is working with Central Command to prepare “options to address [the Islamic State] both in Iraq and Syria with a variety of military tools including airstrikes,” said Col. Ed Thomas, Dempsey’s spokesman, in a statement.
The militant group Islamic State, also known as ISIS, has shown itself to be so brutal that Iraq and the U.S. should be able to find “willing partners” to join efforts to defeat the militants, Dempsey said.
But military power won’t be enough, Dempsey said. The strategy must take a comprehensive approach that includes political and diplomatic efforts to address the grievances of millions of Sunnis who have felt disenfranchised by Iraq’s Shiite-dominated government, he said.
I get the feeling that we’re never going to escape involvement in the endless Middle East conflicts, thanks to George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and the rest of the neocon gang. What a horrible mess! We have our own messes to deal with here, but foreign wars always seem to trump the needs of the American people.
John Cassidy speculates at The New Yorker: What’s Next in Iraq and Syria?
On his first full day back from vacation, President Barack Obama could be forgiven for wishing he were still on Martha’s Vineyard. With confirmation that ISIS fighters have just captured another military base from the government forces of President Assad, and that Qatar has engineered the release of an American freelance journalist who was being held by a non-ISIS jihadist group, Obama has two formidable challenges to deal with.
The immediate task for Obama is deciding whether to launch American bombing raids on ISIS positions inside Syria, while simultaneously preparing his Administration, and the country at large, for the possibility of another video showing an American hostage being butchered. The ISIS militants, having carefully orchestrated the beheading of James Foley following the launch of U.S. strikes inside Iraq, will surely seek to exploit the fate of its remaining American hostages for maximum effect. Any U.S. decision to expand its air campaign is almost certain to be met with the release of more snuff films.
No President—no American—could take such a prospect lightly. At the same time, Obama has to guard against allowing emotion and wishful thinking to take over U.S. policy. That’s what happened after 9/11, and some of the chaos that we now see in the Middle East can be traced back to that historic blunder. What’s needed is calm cost-benefit analysis of the options open to the United States, taking account of its strategic interests, its values, and its capabilities. In short, we need what Danny Kahneman, the Princeton psychologist who pioneered behavioral economics, would refer to as some Type 2 thinking: a disciplined weighing of the likely consequences of our actions. If we give into our Type 1 reaction—horror, outrage, anger—we will be playing into the hands of the jihadists.
One place to start is by acknowledging two errors in thinking that have blighted U.S. policy in the past decade: the conservative delusion that the United States could, more or less single-handedly, use its military power to reinvent the Middle East, and the liberal illusion that we could simply walk away from the mess that Bush, Cheney & Co. created. Without the political willingness and the financial capability to garrison the region in the manner of postwar Germany and Japan, U.S. influence has to be exercised through air power, political proxies, economic inducements, and regional alliances. But that doesn’t diminish the fact that the United States and other Western countries have vital interests at stake, one of which is preventing the emergence of a rogue Islamic state that would provide a rallying point, and a safe haven, for anti-Western jihadists the world over.
Read the whole thing at the link.
The Economies of the U.S. and Europe
There has been so much breaking news for the past couple of months that we haven’t talked much about the economies of the U.S. and Europe. But today the European Central Bank is topping the headlines, and last week Fed Chairperson Janet Yellen spoke at Jackson Hole, so I thought I’d post a few economics stories.
Here’s CNN Money’s report on Yellen’s speech, Janet Yellen: Job market not recovered.
That was Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen’s main message Friday in a much anticipated speech.
“It speaks to the depth of the damage that, five years after the end of the recession, the labor market has yet to fully recover,” she said.
The debate now is whether the job situation in America is healthy enough for the Federal Reserve to start raising interest rates, which have been at historic lows in recent years in an effort to jump start the economy. Yellen, however, said little new on Friday, and U.S. stock markets stayed flat.
Yellen is chair of the committee that sets interest rates, but she only gets one vote. Other members have differing views. The Fed board and other top economists are spending the weekend in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, debating these key issues.
Though the unemployment rate “has fallen considerably and at a surprisingly rapid pace,” Yellen said problems remain.
Yellen called attention to what Americans in the job market already know–though the employment numbers look better, many people have stopped looking for work, and most of the new jobs are part-time and pay low wages.
A few more U.S. economy stories to check out:
The Wall Street Journal: Fed’s Yellen Remains Mum on Timing of Rate Change.
Bloomberg Businessweek: Yellen Job-Slack View Muddied by Pent-Up Wage Deflation.
If you think the economy is struggling here, you should take a look at Europe, where austerity thinking has ruled since the economic crisis hit. Yesterday the French government collapsed. From The New York Times, French Cabinet Is Dissolved, a Victim of Austerity Battles.
PARIS — The collapse of the French government on Monday exposed widening divisions both within France’s leadership, and Europe more broadly, over austerity policies that many now fault for threatening to tip the eurozone back into recession.
Prime Minister Manuel Valls announced that he would dissolve his government after a rancorous battle in his cabinet over whether the belt-tightening measures taken by President François Hollande — at the urging of Germany and European Union officials in Brussels — were impeding France’s recovery.
The dispute broke into the open when Mr. Vall’s outspoken economy minister, Arnaud Montebourg, insisted in an interview over the weekend that austerity had gone too far. “The priority must be exiting the crisis, and the dogmatic reduction of deficits should come after,” he told the newspaper Le Monde.
He also took direct aim at the policies of Angela Merkel, the German chancellor. “Germany is caught in a trap of austerity that it is imposing across Europe,” he said.
Even the formerly strong German economy is struggling now, according to Reuters (via NYT), Crisis in Ukraine Drags Economy in Germany.
The eurozone’s flatlining economy took another hit on Monday when data showed German business sentiment sagging for the fourth consecutive month. Chancellor Angela Merkel attributed some of her own country’s decline in the second quarter to the Russia-Ukraine crisis, over which tit-for-tat sanctions threaten trade. The Munich-based Ifo, a research firm, echoed some of those sentiments as it reported its business climate index, based on a monthly survey of some 7,000 companies, fell to a worse-than-expected 106.3 from 108, the lowest level in more than a year. The findings agreed with data earlier in the month on the second-quarter contraction in Germany, the bloc’s biggest economy. Klaus Wohlrabe, an Ifo economist, said his institute expected growth in Germany to be “close to zero” in the third quarter.
A few more headlines on the European economic situation:
Bloomberg Businessweek on the European Central Bank, Draghi May Again Find Bazooka Words Beat Action With QE, and an editorial from The Financial Times, Central banks at the crossroads.
Yesterday, on the day of Michael Brown’s funeral, The New York Times published a story that got a great deal of attention because of its insensitive characterization of the dead teenager. Here the paragraph that attracted the angry reaction:
Michael Brown, 18, due to be buried on Monday, was no angel, with public records and interviews with friends and family revealing both problems and promise in his young life. Shortly before his encounter with Officer Wilson, the police say he was caught on a security camera stealing a box of cigars, pushing the clerk of a convenience store into a display case. He lived in a community that had rough patches, and he dabbled in drugs and alcohol. He had taken to rapping in recent months, producing lyrics that were by turns contemplative and vulgar. He got into at least one scuffle with a neighbor.
Would the authors have written a similar paragraph about a white homicide victim? From Vox, The New York Times called Michael Brown “no angel.” Here’s how it described serial killers.
“It comes out of the opening scene,” says Mitchell, who notes that “like many teenagers,” Brown was indeed “no angel.” Okay, but would the New York Times have chosen this term — which is commonly used to describe miscreants and thugs — if the victim had been white? Mitchell: “I think, actually, we have a nuanced story about the young man and if it had been a white young man in the same exact situation, if that’s where our reporting took us, we would have written it in the same way.” When asked whether she thought that “no angel” was a loaded term in this context, Mitchell said she didn’t believe it was. “The story … talks about both problems and promise,” she notes.
The Times’s response has done little to calm the storm. Sean McElwee, research assistant at Demos, dug into the archives to compare the Times’s description of Brown to the newspaper’s previous descriptions of serial killers and terrorists. Of course, comparing articles produced decades apart by different writers and editors isn’t an exact science. But it does lend context to the widespread frustration over how young black men are portrayed in the media.
A series of McElwee’s tweets are posted at the link, and are well worth reading.
One more from Salon by Joan Walsh, Ferguson’s booming white grievance industry: Fox News, Darren Wilson and friends. Check it out at Salon.
How did this post get so long?! I’d better wrap it up. Please post your thoughts and links in the comment thread, and have a great Tuesday!